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Would you rec. Grado sr325is for a treble enthusiast?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by drdustcell, Nov 6, 2012.
  1. DrDustCell
    Hello all, I'm making a decision between the 225i and the 325is and I'm turning to Head-Fi for some valuable input~
    I have a fondness for the higher frequencies. I don't shy away from them, especially when I'm in the mood for brassy jazz and especially electronica, where (timely) piercing bright flashes and sizzles = heaven, imo. This is coming from my experience with the Beyer dt990 which fits my musical tastes like a glove. On the other hand, I'm slightly bass-shy and prefer a tight & controlled but strong bass hit to a massive thundering boom. The Senns hd650's bass is about as much as I can take and it's kind of pushing it already sometimes.
    There are a lot of comparison threads between the 225i and the 325is, and most contain complaints about the shrillness of the 325is, about how it is the black sheep of the entire lineup. I'm fine with the treble, but is the 325is also different enough in other aspects from the other Grados (225i in my case) that it won't sound Grado anymore? I'm simply craving for a very fun and in-your-face headphone; my preference for high frequencies could take a back seat in this case.
    I would like to experience The Grado Sound (the forwardness and fantastic midrange one keeps hearing about) and I would like to start somewhere in the middle of the lineup- no flat cups for me! There is sufficient amplification available. Would the 225i be better for me or would the 325is seal the deal? Price difference is about $100, and that's always significant money towards the next upgrade/sidegrade so it's a real factor for me. Also, I just can't afford the Rs2i :frowning2: I'd get the Hifiman HE-500 first if I had that much money lying around!
    Please help a bro out. Thanks all! P.S. No more pizza boxes? :D
  2. MalVeauX
    If you want to try a Grado without investing in a permanent Grado, the base model SR60i would be a good way to start with some L-Cush pads. Beyond that, it's very weird that they all sound so similar. They all just sound like Grados to me. Having the SR60i, SR80i and SR325i, I found the SR325i to be pretty much just a pretty gold aluminum shell but really not much different from the lower models made of plastic. So ultimately I don't recommend any of them except the least expensive one, with some L-cush pads. If you get into Grado hard, and fall in love with the sound, then invest into the RS series or higher. For the prestige series, I just don't see any value for the cost beyond the entry SR60i,  having done it myself already. Found out the expensive way. But that's just my take on it. Some sear by the SR225i as being the "sweet spot" and I simply don't agree.
    Anyhow, if you really want treble-tastic headphones that do not have enhanced loud bass, but rather, neutral to shy bass, look to these:
    Shure SRH940
    Beyer T70
    Very best,
  3. DrDustCell
    I've decided to be patient and do an extended test run. Mal's advice (thanks!) inspired me to actually give the sr60i's (actually it was an sr80i) a try; I was very fortunate to be able to find an owner right here in my campus!! (through university forums, super n-eat)
    He, unfortunately, only had the stock flats and I wasn't crazy enough to suggest carving a hole in both pads to mod his grados, haha. Still, it was great meeting another audiophile, and we exchanged headphones for the week: his grado sr80i for my denon d2000.
    Here are my initial impressions of the sr80i compared to my existing 'phones. [DISCLAIMER: I've only had the sr80i's for less than half a day]
    vs AKG K702:
    The sr80i made a bad first impression with its much-reduced soundstage compared to the K702. It's not the fairest of comparisons I suppose but it's the first thing I noticed. In some ways, I disagree with the oft-repeated idea that grados tend to place you in the front row seat set; in my opinion, it was more like the entire theater shrunk so naturally, I ended up being closer to the performance.. However, I agree that the grado sound is the antithesis to the cold, clinical, and simply stonefaced K70X, the sr80i sounds very lively, very aggressive.
    vs Beyerdynamic DT990-600:
    TUBE HUMMMMMMMM. Also, the treble of the sr80i is so much tamer. I've read numerous complaints about the supposed harshness of the prestige series, and all I can say (at least for the sr80i) is, it's simply sounds not veiled to me. Strangely, it also feels more fatiguing than the dt990, which is my most fatiguing headphone yet, both sonic and headband wise.. and yeah, the complaint was for both of them- must be because the driver is so close to the ear. Finally, I AB'ed both phones and came away with the conclusion that although the sr80i is the more energetic of the two, the dt990 is simply more engaging, more musical. Mental burn-in?
    vs Denon AH-D2000:
    The d2000s are pillows. The sr80i feel like.. um.. slightly-yet-indescribably uncomfortable on ear. And it's not the foam or the headband simply being stiff and new, because this pair is totally used. Maybe I just have to get used to it. Er, sonically I think the sr80i is superior to the d2000 with the sole exception of clarity.. and maybe soundstage. I think the sr80i wins in soundstage though, because it can at least pretend to get you closer to the stage, the d2000 feels mid-fi in this regard in that it just "flattens" a good deal of distance and separation. Even in fun-ness I prefer the sr80i. The d2000 can do two things that the sr80i can't though: protect my ears from the winter cold and keep the librarian from catapulting encyclopedias at me due to headphone sound leak.
    vs Sennheiser HD650:
    Runner up for grado antithesis, due to its mature, laid-back nature. I think that title would fit the hd600s better though, as the hd650 still has that fun factor in, but in a much more refined way compared to the sr80i. Sound quality wise, and this is the first time this is coming out of my mouth, the difference is Night and day. Day and night. The sr80i is not unlistenable in any way, just that compared to the former's smoothness (something this grado doesn't have, not one bit) and.. plainly stated, euphony, the sr80i suffers a one hit KO. A saving grace from this comparison could be that the HD650's bass feels a little bit excessive at times to me but the grado's is just right, cuddled snugly up in my perfect zone.
    I'm assuming the sr225i and the sr325is will give me a similar-enough experience.. (i.e. passive listening) There are no stores that I know of within a.. ~50km(?) distance that have grados for test drive. The most popular headphones here (Hangzhou, China) currently seem to be the noise cancelling Beats, the k701, hd598, dt880, and tons and tons of Audio Technicas, especially ath-ad900 and below.

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